The sun is rising on this, another perfect day. It’s the Summer Solstice after all. And what better state to celebrate on this day than Arizona, where the sun lives nearly year-round. Did you know Arizona was the last continental state to join the union? That’s not all . . .
Located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the village of Supai is the only place in the country where mail is delivered by mule. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is the most remote community in the contiguous U.S. Only about 200 people call this village home.
Arizona is home to the best-preserved crater on earth. The Barringer Crater has a diameter of about 1,200 meters and a depth of 170 meters. It is estimated that the crater is over 50 thousand years old. It’s one of Kiddo’s favorite stops to make when driving across Arizona.
The largest Native American Reservation is found in Arizona. It is the Navajo Nation, consisting of 17,544,500 acres. America owes a debt of gratitude to the Navajo men who served as Code Talkers during World War II. Theirs was a language the Japanese thought was an unbreakable code.
Because of the ability to view stars away from city lights and pollution, Tucson Arizona is knowns as the Astronomy Capital of the World.
Just outside Tucson is the Davis-Monthan Air Force Bone Yard. Claiming to be the world’s largest airplane bone yard, it has served as a storage site for military planes since World War II. The area experiences low humidity, low rainfall, with a hard alkaline soil and an altitude of 2,550 feet. This combination allows the natural preservation of aircraft just in case we ever want to reuse something.
As you can imagine, the Grand Canyon draws visitors from all over the globe. There have been an estimated 685 deaths at the canyon, both accidental and heath-related. Of the 55 people who have accidentally fallen to their death at the rim, 39 of them were male. Eight of those fell while hopping from one rock to another to pose for that perfect profile picture. No comment needed.
If you like visiting the old west, Arizona is dotted with interesting towns to explore. Three of my personal favorites would be Oatman, Jerome and Tombstone. Each for a different reason. Oatman is nothing more than a bend in the road, yet it attracts visitors from all over. Oatman’s streets are jammed with tourists who come to see the donkeys. These are the decedents of donkeys abandoned long ago by miners. Jerome just has a feel to it. If you are quite, the past will whisper in your ear. As for Tombstone – who can resist walking in the footsteps of legends such as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday?
Just like its neighbors, Colorado and New Mexico, there is some heat to Arizona cuisine. The spicier the better, that how it is in our house. This meal could be served as a wake you up breakfast or a deliciously satisfying supper. Anyway you serve it up, it’s all good.
Arizona Sun Shine Menu
Chorizo Egg Ranchero
Mezcal Bloody Mary with Spicy Candied Bacon
Chorizo and Egg Ranchero
4 (8-inch) Flour Tortillas
Cooking Spray as needed
1 (16 oz) Jalapeno Refried Beans
Taco Sauce as needed
8 oz Chorizo
8 large Eggs
1 cup Salsa
1/2 cup shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
Heat oven to 425-degrees. Spritz both sides of tortillas with cooking spray. Turn two 1-1/2 quart ovenproof bowls upside down on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray bowls with cooking spray. Press tortilla over the inverted bowls. Spray the inside of two more bowls. Place second bowl over the tortillas to help hold their shape. Place in the oven to bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, let cool as is for 5 minutes. Carefully remove top bowl. Turn tortilla bowls out onto a rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining tortillas to create 4 bowls.
Place beans in a microwave safe bowl. Spread taco sauce over the top of the beans. Cover and microwave beans, on high until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir to blend taco sauce into the warmed beans. Divide beans among the cooled tortilla bowls.
In a large nonstick skillet, cook and crumble chorizo over medium heat until cooked through, 8 minutes. Drain well; spoon a quarter of chorizo in each tortilla bowl. Wipe out skillet. Add eggs; scramble, cooking until thickened and no liquid egg remains.
Meanwhile, microwave salsa, covered, on high until heated through, 1 minute.
Spoon eggs over beans-chorizo; top with salsa. Sprinkle with cheese. Pop into a warm oven just long enough for the cheese to melt.
Cut lime into wedges. Peel and slice avocado. Garnish Ranchero Bowls with sliced avocado served with a side of lime. Any remaining refried beans are an added touch with the potatoes on the side.
1 medium Yellow Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves
2 lbs small Red Potatoes
4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil, divided
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Peel and dice the onion, set aside. Core the bell pepper, discard seed and dice pepper. Set aside. Peel garlic, set aside.
Scrub potatoes and cut in half or quarters depending upon size. Place potatoes into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for about 6 minutes, just until tender yet firm. Drain well.
Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Add the onions and pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until tender and just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Using a small grater or planer, grate garlic into the skillet and cook for about 30-seconds, until aromatic. Remove from heat to a small bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the now empty skillet over medium heat until just beginning to shimmer. Add the parboiled potatoes, and pepper mixture. Toss to blend. With a spatula, gently press down on the potato mixture.
Cook potatoes undisturbed for about 6 or 7 minutes, just until browned on the bottom.
Flip the potatoes over in sections and gently flatten again with the spatula. Continue to cook, flipping as needed every 2 or 3 minutes, until well browned, about 15 minutes.
Taste, season with salt and pepper as desired.
Mezcal Bloody Mary with Spicy Candied Bacon
Spicy Candied Bacon
1/2 lb Bacon
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Ancho Chile Powder
1/8 teaspoon Coarse Black Pepper
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Small Sun-Dried Jalapeno or Serrano Peppers
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a baking rack inside the baking sheet to elevate the bacon. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
Pat the bacon dry. Mix the brown sugar, chile powder, black pepper and cayenne together and spread out on a large plate. Press both sides of each bacon strip into the sugar mixture until coated and then arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar mixture.
Bake until the bacon is golden and glazed, turning once, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Optional: For an extra twist, wrap candied bacon around shrimp or roasted peppers before baking. Have a few additional peppers for additional garnish.
Mezcal Bloody Mary
16 oz Tomato Juice
2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tablespoon Horseradish
6 oz Mezcal
Lime, for rimming glass
Smoked Sea Salt, for rimming glass
In a pitcher, combine tomato juice, liquid smoke and Worcestershire Sauce and Horseradish. Stir until well combines and the Horseradish has been fully incorporated. Add Mezcal, stir gently. Set aside to chill.
Slice lime into quarters. Rub the rim of a each Margarita Glass with a slice of lime to moisten. Dip the rim in smoked sea salt to coat. Fill with ice and set aside.
To serve, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour a quarter of the Blood Mary into the shaker. Give it a shake. Strain cocktail into the prepared glass and garnish with candied bacon. Repeat for each glass. Serve and enjoy.